78-Year-Old Ordered to Pay Back Pension Increase Received During Imprisonment for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 78-year-old woman in Guanghan City, Sichuan Province has had her pension reduced for 95 months and then completely stopped in September 2020.
Ms. Yang Yunqing’s ordeal stemmed from her imprisonment between 2009 and 2012 for refusing to renounce her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.
After Ms. Yang was released in 2012, local social security office started to deduct 200 yuan from her monthly pension payments to pay back the pension increase she had received during her imprisonment. They claimed that she was not eligible for the raise because of her faith.
The deduction continued for 95 consecutive months until September 2020, when the social security office completely stopped issuing pension payments to her. Her family went to the office to seek reinstatement of her pension on October 19, 2020, but was instead deceived into signing an agreement for her to pay back 16,535.76 yuan.
The social security office said Ms. Yang owed a total of 35,535.76 yuan for the pension increase she wasn't eligible for but was mistakenly given during her imprisonment. Since she had 19,000 yuan deducted (= 200 yuan times 95 months), she supposedly still owed 16,535.76 yuan (= 35535.76 – 19,000). Her family was told that she had to deposit the 16,535.76 yuan into a designated account as soon as possible or she would face legal consequences, much less have her pension reinstated.
Ms. Yang is now without any source of income.
Ms. Yang took up Falun Gong in 1997. Many of her ailments, including Meniere's disease and bronchitis, disappeared a week later. She regained her health and was able to take on many household chores again. Her family no longer had to worry about her medical expenses.
After the Chinese communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Yang was arrested twice and sentenced to two four-year prison terms for refusing to renounce her faith.
She was first arrested in July 2001 while walking on the street. The police ransacked her home and took her to the local detention center. Officers attempted to extort 100,000 yuan from her family in exchange for her release. Her family said they couldn’t afford it and refused to pay the police. After 1.5 years of detention, Ms. Yang was sentenced to four years in Chengdu City Women’s Prison and forced to work more than ten hours each day without pay.
Ms. Yang was arrested again in September 2009 after she was reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She was given a second four-year term in Sichuan Province Women’s Prison.